My first Valentine’s Day as a new mom wasn’t exactly romantic—and not through lack of trying. We made reservations at a chic little bistro that wasn’t kid-friendly, I squeezed my postpartum self into something slinky that (gasp!) didn’t have an elastic waistband, and my husband even wore some cologne, which he hadn’t used since the days when we both began smelling like spit up and baby powder.
When you first bring your newborn baby home from the hospital, the high you’re on is just impossible to describe. You’re in love! You don’t want to close your eyes for a second—you just need to take in every funny little face she makes, every gurgle, sneeze and yawn.
But then a few weeks pass, and one day you realize you’ve been operating on coffee, adrenaline and fumes for nearly a month. And you do have vague memories of what it was like to be able to sleep. Those were good times. That’s when you wonder: will your baby ever let you get in a solid block of shut-eye again? Believe it or not, the two of you will eventually both be able to sleep through the night.
Here are some tips for getting sleep-savvy:
Nursing is estimated to burn about 500 calories a day. Without even going into all of breastfeeding’s countless health benefits to your baby, this factoid alone is a pretty good incentive to nurse—especially if you are like me and put on, oh, a wee bit more than the recommended 25-35 lbs during pregnancy.
But not all women have an easy time losing weight when they are nursing. Nursing can make you very hungry! And going on some kind of extreme weight loss regimen could potentially affect your milk supply.
There are safe ways to lose weight while breastfeeding, though. (I should know—I lost 40+ lbs. of baby weight three times while successfully plumping up each of my kids!)
Here are my tips for reclaiming your pre-pregnancy jeans…while you’re still wearing a nursing bra:
It’s that time of year. (Sniff, cough.) We’re all walking around armed with a pocket full of tissues and throat lozenges, if we’re not completely bed-ridden thanks to an especially bad cold. And if we feel lousy, just think about how bad it’s got to be for babies, who can’t talk to tell us what’s wrong and can’t watch bad reality TV to take their minds off their congested little chests and pink runny noses.
You should contact your pediatrician if your baby has a fever of 101 or higher—and if it’s above 103 or the baby is younger than 6 weeks, you need to go to the emergency room ASAP. For those not-so-serious situations, though, there are many home remedies and over-the-counter options that will help baby start feeling good again.
Some women call stretch marks “badges of honor.” But when I first noticed bright reddish purple streaks on my hips towards the end of my first pregnancy, I can’t say I felt particularly honored. A healthy baby is enough commemoration for me, thank you very much!
Time helped fade my once-bright marks to thin, silvery grooves, but I still wanted a little help airbrushing their existence—and preventing more of them from cropping up when I was pregnant again (and again) with my first badge of honor’s younger siblings.
After much trial and error, here’s what worked for me:
There’s something that’s just so special about baby bath time. Your chubby little dumpling, all rosy and warm, splashing happily, giggling as you sing silly songs—now this is why you waddled around with heartburn and sciatica for 9 months!
Of course, if the water’s just a little too hot or the bubble bath’s just a little too harsh, you could end up with shrieks instead of blissful giggles.
Here are my been-there-done-that tips for achieving tub-time happiness:
I was hardly a fashionista when I was pregnant (my feet got so swollen in my final months that I ended up shuffling around in velvet bedroom slippers my entire last trimester), so maybe that’s why I was always daydreaming about the gorgeous diaper bag I’d carry one day.
I spent a lot of time ogling the high-end brands that cost more than a week of daycare, checking out what crafty homespun concoctions were selling on Etsy—and of course wondering how all of these contenders would look attached to the strollers I had my eye on.
But once baby arrived, I discovered that what really mattered wasn’t so much how the bag looked—but what it held inside. Read more →
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